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Serious climate- and health-related concerns about gas stoves


Darienne
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Just came across this article in my daily download from the Smithsonian magazine.   click  I've always wanted a gas stove, but there aren't gas mains where we live and so I've had to stay with an electric stove.  Now, after reading this article, I'm not so sure that I would want to switch to gas after all.  

 

Sorry.  I feel like the bearer of bad news. 

Darienne

 

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Yes it has been all over various news outlets.  I have excellent ventilation and can't comment on cli8mate change. The proportions 500K car equiv - not much. There is the hoopla about wood burning fireplaces, stoves etc.  I'll watch the further reports but at this moment I'm a gas girl though living in California the decision may be made for me.

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Increasing airflow by using a range hood can help reduce the personal health risk of natural gas-burning appliances, but most individuals report rarely using their ventilation system.

This is crazy to me -- I'd be setting off the fire alarm every other day if I didn't run my hood!

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Chris Hennes
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3 minutes ago, palo said:

Ventilation only reduces the health risks - health was not the primary thrust of the study.

 

p

 

Instead of natural gas, we should just call it methane, because that's the main component and even if much of it is being vented from the home, it's still going into the atmosphere. And I think we all know the effects of methane on planetary warming and the very real problems that is causing. 

 

 

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Running OT here but I think plastics are much more on the front "burner" of concern. The oil & gas megaliths. But as to cooking - give me gas because I feel in control and it is sorta primal. Outdoors give me my Weber. I know we all have to adjust. Pick your fight that matters. If you try to fight it all you tend to splinter.

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Sorry @btbyrd, I understand your point. I guess I would add that methane leaks do happen at all stages of gas extraction, storage and transportation as well as in home usage. And yeah, CO2 is going to be sticking around for a very long time so its effects get compounded. My badly worded post is just trying to say that a gazillion homes using natural gas are definitely worsening an already critical situation. 

Edited by FauxPas (log)
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I may regret not holding my tongue in this topic but so be it:  gas is horrible.  For the last forty some years I've enjoyed electric.  But I've put in my time with gas.  Gas stoves and burners are dangerous to turn on unless you have some sort of igniter or pilot light.  Back when I had a house, the gas company told me if we lived in south Jersey we'd all be dead.  There was a gas leak (I was the only one who smelled it, go figure).  In north Jersey the soil is mostly dense clay and shale.  In south Jersey the porous soil is sand, and gas supplied homes regularly blow up from time to time.

 

If the only combustion products of gas are water and CO2 why does a gas stove smell like mercaptan?  Retorical question, I know the answer.  Not to mention mercaptan is not particularly appetizing unless you are cooking several week old fish.

 

I knew someone who died when her gas stove blew up.  I suppose it could happen, but I've never met anyone who died when her electric stove blew up.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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I always wanted a Gas stove... I ended up getting a high end induction cook top and never wanted gas any more.  The control with induction is awesome.  Super fast boil and super good control over lower simmers.  Sure it's not infinitely adjustable with a knob but 1-10 with .5 intervals is enough for everything I've done.

 

But of course in Minnesota we mostly use Gas Furnaces - and leaky furnaces are just as much to blame according to some of these articles I've read.  :(

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Hmm. The house I live in now had an electric stove but the oven thermostat was unreliable.  I got a new electric stove and in a couple years the two front burners didn't work. One would not heat up. I'd turn it on and come back a few minutes to turn it down and it wasn't heating much at all.  The other burner went to high even if the dial was turned on low. It would have started a fire if I had not caught it in time.  When shopping for another stove, I learned that gas lines could be installed for less than half the previous cost and I switched.  I am not inclined to change again even though I am pretty sure induction stoves are probably better in almost all aspects.  

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The cited article is an aggregation of things that together sound bad but are probably trivial.  At least one of the "experts" is from a "healthy energy" company, whatever that means, I assume that they have an agenda.

 

It says that PA has banned gas stoves...well, no it hasn't.

 

Insurance companies don't care about gas stoves as far as setting rates.

 

It says that gas stoves generate carbon monoxide. I have a CO monitor right by the stove that detects no CO even when in use.

 

I'd say that the piece is clickbait, mostly, that fits with the current narrative that everything causes climate change.  I guess we'll see more of this.

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I had not given much thought to the climate impact of passive gas leakage from appliances that aren't powered on.  I've got a gas cooktop, gas furnace, gas clothes dryer and 2 gas-fired hot water heaters, all quite standard in this area.  I don't have any sort of ventilation hood, which would probably benefit my indoor environment!

 

Any larger environmental benefits of switching to electric are certainly going to depend on the source of the electric power.  In California, it's fairly clean.  Not so much where it's generated by burning coal. 

 

 

I was listening to a radio program on this issue yesterday. One of the callers pointed out that during our increasingly frequent, days-long public safety power shut-offs (to enable the power companies to avoid liability for wind-driven wildfires), she can still use her gas stove to cook and feed her family and asked when the electric utility would provide better stability.  No one answered her question.  Doesn't matter how clean the energy source is if it's unreliable.

 

Long term, I'd like to upgrade my electric service and rewire the house so I can switch to electric appliances, upgrade my rooftop solar to power them and add storage batteries to provide at least a moderate level of power during those shut-offs.  That'll be $$$ and I'm not wild about the environmental impact of present-day batteries but hope by the time I've got the money, they'll be better. 

Edited by blue_dolphin
typo (log)
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12 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

Any larger environmental benefits of switching to electric are certainly going to depend on the source of the electric power.  In California, it's fairly clean.  Not so much were it's generated by burning coal. 

 

Both here and in Rancho Mirage So Cal Edison recently sent out information and the option to remain with existing sources or go to greener onjes. They mad green the default if you don't reply. I didn't delve further but clearly a lot of effort in that area.

 

One kudo I have to gove the gas company is that they will be right there if you even think you smell gas They have a sniffer device. Last time it was the gas dryer even when not on. They red-tagged it and due to supply chain issues I could not get it fixed so had to get a new one.

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2 hours ago, gfweb said:

The cited article is an aggregation of things that together sound bad but are probably trivial.  At least one of the "experts" is from a "healthy energy" company, whatever that means, I assume that they have an agenda.

 

It says that PA has banned gas stoves...well, no it hasn't.

 

Insurance companies don't care about gas stoves as far as setting rates.

 

It says that gas stoves generate carbon monoxide. I have a CO monitor right by the stove that detects no CO even when in use.

 

I'd say that the piece is clickbait, mostly, that fits with the current narrative that everything causes climate change.  I guess we'll see more of this.

My son put a CO monitor by the stove and another one by the gas fireplace.  Neither one has ever gone off.

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a human being puts out more methane per day than the few molecules that leak past gas cook top off valves.

the "study" was done by a California group - they outlaw virtually everything.  just consider the billions of dollar companies now must spend to label things "California Proposition xyz says this will kill you"

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Unhelpfully, I agree with basically all sides here.

 

Gas appliances are a major problem for many reasons, and in the name of the public good I support all the legislation that's phasing them out. 

 

I also love gas ranges, and have never really liked cooking on anything else. I hope to be able to build a kitchen someday with a raging Bluestar range and a commercial hood, and to be able to enjoy cooking with for a few years before the prophesy of Mad Max comes true. 

 

I'm hoping induction is as awesome as its converts claim.

 

See "If by Whiskey" for rhetorical clarity. 

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Notes from the underbelly

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22 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

Any larger environmental benefits of switching to electric are certainly going to depend on the source of the electric power.  In California, it's fairly clean.  Not so much where it's generated by burning coal. 

 

Exactly - because what some may forget, is that electricity has to come from somewhere.  Wind, fine. Solar, fine. Geothermal, fine. Water, fine. Most of that stuff is available in California, but not necessarily in a lot of other places in this country. At least not consistently.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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It's true that it makes a difference where the electricity comes from. The arguments for conversion away from gas still include some of the following:

  • This is a longterm project, and the electric grid is slowly transitioning to a higher percentage of renewable sources.
  • Gas-fired power plants have much more stringent pollution controls than gas-fired appliances.
  • Using electricity eliminates the hazards of gas at the endpoints (leaking methane into the atmosphere, pollutants in the home, explosion hazards, etc.) 
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Notes from the underbelly

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recently the idea that gas granges ' leak '

 

is In the News.

 

lets say some do , some don't.

 

Id be very interested to hear any 

 

reliable inso on this ' leakage '

 

and do the very high end ranges ( Blue Star , Wolf  etc )

 

have documented ' less leakage '  orno leakage ?

 

this is an important aspect of gas ranges .

 

and it would be interesting to see data ( real usage , home or restaurant )

 

about this leaks .     is it cost sensitive ?

 

cheaper lines of rages , have more leakage ?  

 

I do have an ulterior motive 

 

it would be difficult to legacy in a BlueStar   4 burner gas

 

if there were documented ' leaks '

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BTW   this ' leakage '   may be real 

 

or more noise from FB  ( down 25 % )

 

so does any one know about this ?

 

Im guessing that commercial gas appliances 

 

home and restaurant   are

 

fairly heavily regulated .

 

doubt they are going to get the nod if

 

in the specs there is a line  :  Leakage ppm ?

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